Sunday, March 31, 2013


On this Easter Sunday I am counting my blessings. At this moment I am grateful for my family, good health, positive spirit, wonderful friends, the chance for rebirth and the joyous laughter of my children. 

Count your blessings today!
He is Risen.

Happy Easter!

Saturday, March 30, 2013


Hey all, it's been quite a crazy week and I haven't had time to post a follow up to my waiting room experience.  Thank you for your comments of well wishes and inquiries as to my Mom's recovery. I am overwhelmed and in gratitude to you! Her surgery was a success and she is doing well.

My Mom remains in the hospital, but has been moved to the rehabilitation unit where the physical therapists can assist her in adjusting to walking on her brand new hip.  She is the 71 year old bionic woman, but she has always seemed that way to me.  I have to admit, I really haven't given much thought to my parents getting older.  They are my parents, and have always been so strong.  I am in denial (and more so when it comes to my own aging process).  But who wants to think about aging?

Hello, Michelle it's a part of life.  I know it's happening and there is no way around it.  I just don't want to think about it in terms of reality.  Ha, ha ha. This is a reminder that I can't go forward if I have my blinders on.  It's all about acceptance.  (Deep sigh)

My parents are very prepared. They are much more reality driven than their free-spirited daughter. When my father retired several years ago they moved to the Indianapolis area to be close to me.  They have arrangements in place for long term care, or nursing home care. Their current home is a one level dwelling and is handicap accessible. They have made their wishes known to me in terms of the "what-if's".  Basically, all the bases are covered.

They are in complete acceptance of their stage in life. I have always known my parents were practical folks, and they are demonstrating this to me again.  It seems odd for me to say, but I am proud of them.  (smile)

I am grateful to be in the position to be supportive.  To give back. It is another piece in place as I walk on the path of progression to my better self. The confidence my parents have in me speaks volumes.  I've worked hard to restore this in our lives, and it gives me great pleasure to see the fruits of my labor come to fruition.

As I hold my mother's hand in her recovery I am grateful.  She is progressing well and I have no doubt she will be back to her regular activities in no time.

Thank you once again for your kind thoughts, I really appreciate it!
See you soon.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The Waiting Room

I find myself in the waiting room of the hospital...again. My mother is having surgery to replace her broken hip. As you may know, waiting patiently is not my specialty. My Dad is sitting next to me reading The Hunger Games on his Kindle. As I scrutinize his face, he appears completely at ease.  He is well practiced in the virtue of patience. We were told the procedure would take 3 hours. My father has been in many waiting rooms in his 48 year career as Episcopal priest and more recently, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Kansas. My impatience clearly was not inherited from him. (Although being a "preacher's kid" I gave him plenty of opportunities to be impatient with me and my shenanigans through the years.) I personally have witnessed him being less than patient. But I digress. (Although that would be an interesting future post.) Juicy!

Five weeks ago my mother suffered a fall which resulted in a broken hip. She had surgery to repair the break and pins were placed. She faced a lengthy recovery. It was anticipated she could not put full weight on her left leg for three months.  She was incredibly uncomfortable and depressed.  It was difficult for her to get in and out of the house. Long story short at a follow up visit last week an X-ray revealed the pins had come loose and that a total hip replacement was necessary. So here we are again. In the same waiting room.  But I have to say she was very positive as she was wheeled into surgery and that put me more at ease.

As I look around the room I see that I am surrounded by an eclectic group. There is a woman sitting across from me rapidly consuming a large bag of Cheetos which she washes down with an 18oz bottle of cola. I reserve judgement. There is a group of family members who collectively appear to have arguably the greatest tattoo collection in Indianapolis. There is an elderly woman clutching the hand of a beautiful young woman sitting next to her. The younger woman strokes her hand lovingly. I wonder if they are waiting to hear about the woman's husband, the young woman's father?  Then there is the receptionist who, appearing bored beyond belief, is thumbing through her magazine for the third time.

As a journalist I tend to be observant. Ok, nosy. I'll admit it. As a writer it is a personality trait that comes in handy. People watching has always been a fun pastime for me. As I work on my deficient patience level, I typically engage in this activity. I find it soothing. I enjoy the act of creating a story for each one. Who knows, they might be replicated in character as part of a future written work of mine.

I have been here for an hour and I'm pleased to note that I am not feeling anxious or impatient.  Progress! I am relaxed in the knowledge that my mother is getting the care she needs and I am grateful to be present with my Dad during her surgery. We are comfortable in her capable physician, who has an excellent beside manner.  My Dad appreciates his humor and I appreciate the fact that he includes me in the conversations regarding my mother.  We are told her recovery time will be significantly reduced, as with her brand new hip she will be able to walk out of here unassisted when before a wheelchair was required. Good stuff.

So I'll close for now and return to people watching. I have a whole new group to study and they appear to be good material at first glance. Thank you for passing the time with me!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Survival of the Strongest

I have many roles in life, but first and foremost I am a mother. As I spent some time with my daughter this morning, I was reminded of how grateful I am for the solid relationship I have with her. I feel compelled to write about it today.

Several years ago, when I made the decision to make significant changes in my life, I did so for myself. I slowly shed the skin of the person I had become. I needed to do that for me or I knew I would die. Yet, after years of hard work and immense growth I have heightened awareness of the impact all of this had on my children. This is increasingly apparent more and more each day as they get older. 

I had basically given up.  I was a hot mess.  I was a shell of a person. I had become complacent with the way things were and I wasn’t living but simply existing. I had no hope and seemed to be stuck in quicksand. I was oblivious to the fact that by giving up on myself I was giving up on the people in my life that really mattered, my children. My son was very young at the time, but my daughter was eleven.  A pivotal age.  I am quite sure she didn’t like me very much, which made two of us.  She became closed off and struggled in school.

Then came the turnaround.  Complete 360.  I snapped out of it and got with the program.  Thank God.

Today, my daughter is a beautiful, strong young woman who gives freely of herself.  She is intelligent, open and caring. We are incredibly close.  This morning was a perfect example of this.  I took her to a local church because she had accepted a volunteer gig to give her time and her skills as an artist on behalf of the art department at her high school.  She was asked to do this and she agreed without hesitation.  On our way to the church, we engaged in conversation, which is typical practice for us these days.  It was an intelligent conversation about some things that are on her mind. It was an exchange that grabbed my heart and filled me with pride. After dropping her off at the entrance, I parked for a few minutes to reflect upon my gratitude.  My teenaged daughter wants to spend time with me.  She communicates with me openly about teen issues like school, drugs or alcohol, her boyfriend and struggles she has.  I appreciate this for what it is, a very rare gift.  I trust her and she trusts me.  Priceless.  I am grateful beyond words, and I don't take it lightly.  This would not have happened if I hadn't changed.  I can't even bring myself to entertain "what if's".  I have to focus on the now and take one day at a time.  Forward, not backward!  No regret, because we are all stronger today and for that I am grateful.  What doesn't kill ya.....

I am happy today but more importantly my kids are happy.  They are strong and confident.  I firmly believe they have learned from the tragic mistakes I've made and by seeing how I've overcome the obstacles I had put in my way.  My relationship with both of my children is now firmly planted on solid ground.

There is snow coming down, so we are hoping for a snow day!  Weird, it's only a week away from Spring Break.  But I'm not complaining, because life is good today.

Peace out!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Countdown to Ironman Kansas 70.3

I have exactly twelve weeks until my first race of the season.  To some, that may sound like a long time.  Three months.  But when training for an Ironman 70.3 race, and one that is dubbed "a tough race", twelve weeks really isn't an abundance of time.  It's creeping up on me.  And while I have been training since January, I'm feeling the pressure to kick it up a notch.  I will swim 1.2 miles, then bike 56 miles topped off with a 13.1 mile run.  I want to be ready.  I WILL be ready!

I absolutely love the sport of triathlon.  The fact that I'm able to compete in long distances races is still something that gives me awe.  If you had asked me five years ago to consider covering 70.3 miles all at once I would have laughed!  Probably in your face, while telling you that you were crazy.  Not today.  I live for a challenge, and when one presents itself to me I'll take it.  In sports and in life.  Fear is a liar.  The challenge on my horizon is Ironman Kansas 70.3 on June 9, 2013.  Bring it.

Kansas is a prairie state, and with prairies come wind. This will play a factor in all three disciplines.

The swim is rumored to be in rough water, due to the winds. "Rumored" is an understatement, as every single person I've talked to who has raced Kansas has told me so.  I'm a little bit nervous because we have had a very cold pre-spring so far which means I will have limited open water swim training. Admittedly, I am not experienced in rough water swimming so that is another challenge.  I am hoping to be able to log some hours swimming in open water during April and May, but we shall see what Mother Nature has in store. For now, it's the pool 3-4 times a week.

The wind will affect the bike and the run as well, however I will have such conditions to train in the next twelve weeks so I'm not overly worried.  And you know how I love to ride and run.

As I write this, excitement is seeping from my pores.  I love race season!  My coach and several friends raced this weekend, and while cheering them it became real that race season is on!  It may be 27 cold degrees outside today, but spring has sprung.  It's going to be a great year! As the time ticks by, I will keep you periodically informed of my progress!  Thank you for following along in the fun.  Let's do this!

Peace out,

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Oh What a Night

Today is my birthday. A day when it's all about me!  Of course I share this day with the masses celebrating St. Patrick's Day. The more the merrier!  Fun all around.  I spent the day immersed in the simple joys of life.

As I look back on the year, I am very grateful. It has been a wonderful time with many blessings. I have worked on myself, expanded my horizons and I have discovered that I genuinely like who I am today. There were some incredible highs and some exceptional lows, but with each experience came growth.  I am strong and happy today.

 Birthday Cake Courtesy of Kendall and Nick

One of the best things about this year was that I started this blog. Writing is part of my soul. Twenty years ago I put my writing on hold when I moved from Maryland to Indiana and got married. Next came children, and before I knew it I found myself a stay-at-home mom. I put my career and my dreams on a back burner to be Mommy. The more time that passed, the more complacent I became. I have no regret, don't get me wrong.  I am proud of my two teenaged children and my time spent raising them to young adulthood has been priceless.

I made the decision this year that I was no longer content with status quo. It was time to take back my own identity. The last five years of my life have been akin to starting over. I was given a second chance at life. I have gradually made life changes. And today I find myself wanting more. Needing more. Determined to do more.

Change came slowly, and as I've told you I'm not the most patient of girls. But I am learning. Gradual change has proven to be the most valuable. Good things come to those who wait, after all.

Expressing myself in the written word has given new depth to my life. Through this I've learned that it's never too late. I don't have to settle with what I've always done, I can start something new.  By letting go and taking risks I have gained insight through new adventures. I am being honest and I'm putting myself out there. I'm learning to step outside of my comfort zone. By having the courage to do so, I am freeing myself from the shackles in which fear has kept me bound. And it feels pretty damn great.

Today was a very special day. I was overwhelmed by the many well-wishes bestowed upon me. It's the love of friends and family that mean the most to me.  My kids made me cards and a birthday cake complete with SweetTarts Jellybeans.  I let myself indulge a little bit.  My day started with morning meditation and a kick-ass workout at The Cycle Studio surrounded by friends, then brunch with my family and an afternoon shopping with my daughter. And now I'm writing. Heaven.

So cheers to a new year. Bring it on. I am so glad you will be sharing it with me.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

A Simple Phrase

Live Without Regret

Sometimes a simple phrase can make the most impact.

It did for me.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Why Do I Do It?

"It".  Such a little word, but when packed with so much meaning "it" becomes enormous. Why do I race triathlons?  Why do I find it fun to ride a bike for 3 hours? Why do I work on myself every day?  Why do I mentor other women?  Why am I embarking on a new career at 45? Why do I drop anything I'm doing to help my children? Why (or how) do I keep such a positive attitude, even when the going gets rough?  These are just a few of the questions I'm occasionally asked by others and I ask myself every day. It's a running dialog I have with me. (smile)

I do it all because I have the ability, the drive, the dedication and the love in my soul.  I've wasted enough time in this short life.  The time is now to reach for the stars. And at age 45, I am finally finding me and making sense of it all.  Up until recently I was surviving on autopilot (just surviving...not living) but today I am making use of the body and the mind I have been blessed with.  And I am embracing all of my flaws, because they're part of me. This is not to say I'm holding on to them. Recognizing my defects, then interpreting the role they've played in my life and letting them go is all part of "it".  I emerge stronger in the process.

Life can get so crazy.  It seems I am constantly on the move. Work, training, kids, a household to run and a social life to try to keep up with. How do I keep "it" all together?  It's not easy sometimes but I just keep on keeping on. What other choice is there, really?  I make use of what I've got and every day becomes another step toward my dreams.  Anything is possible, I truly believe that.

The main component that keeps me grounded is to practice morning meditation. I am very spiritual and that's the key for me. If my spiritual condition is strong and first in my life, then everything else is cool.  I'm not necessarily talking about religion, but spirituality.  My method of meditation is to read a daily reflection then practice a yoga flow concentrating on what I've read, and sometimes just one word of the reading. Or I might meditate on my blessings and what I am grateful for that morning.  I let everything else go.  This centers me, calms me and builds me up from the inside out.  Perfect.

It works.  My day is not quite right if I skip my morning yoga and meditation. It's amazing how happy I am when I do so.  Any sadness or worry I might be feeling dissipates when I am concentrating on growth and gratitude. If I am strong on the inside then I am in turn strong on the outside and armed to take on the day's challenges.  Mentally and physically.

I hope you find peace in your heart today.  I know I have.


Sunday, March 10, 2013

Temptation and the Oreo

This was a fabulous weekend, just as I anticipated.  Lots of outdoor cycling! And if you've been following along, you know how happy that makes me! Daylight savings time began and it was a delight when I took my daughter to her tutoring session at 7pm this evening and the sky was still bright. Last week it had been dark. What a difference a week makes. Hello Spring! My spirits are high, and I'm ready for the week ahead.

While Kendall was being tutored, I sat outside and pondered what I would like to write about. I've been thinking about temptation a lot recently. Temptation can be defined as to strongly wish for or want something; usually something we can't or shouldn't have. Temptation seems to be surrounding me lately, in many forms. Indulgence can be so alluring. Perfect topic for a blog post.

Maybe it was the picture my nephew posted on Facebook that prompted the temptation reflection:

Or maybe it's because it is currently Lent, and the talk about town is giving up an object of desire during this period of time before Easter. In the Bible, Jesus was tempted in the desert by the Devil and of course He did not waver. So as testament to their faith, people restrict themselves from something they strongly desire during Lent. The expectation is to not give in to temptation.  Of course, when something is forbidden it suddenly becomes more enticing. We want what we can't have, and we want it RIGHT NOW. Human nature.

I have given up sweets.  What do I want?  Of course, I want those stinking Oreos.  I indulge in red grapes instead.  While eating the grapes my mind is focused on how delicious the birthday cake Oreos would taste. (sigh)

To not give in to our desires is an act of strength and will.  It can build mental fortitude. (Look how strong I am not eating the Oreos!)  Meanwhile it seems every thought turns to the object of desire.  I want an Oreo. Maybe two?!

Crazy, right?  I'm sure you've been tempted by something so hopefully you can empathize.

I want to throw caution to the wind and eat the Oreo, but not right now, the timing isn't right.  Perhaps after Ironman Kansas 70.3 I will give in and indulge myself.  As a matter of fact, the timing then will be perfect. Something to look forward to!

I just have to remember that I am powerless.  To remain strong means to work on myself.  With that work I can live freely without the obsession of the Oreo.  I can achieve a healthy balance with temptation, as it is part of being human. Balance, resolve and work peppered with a dose of humility.

Of course, I always have hope.

I hope you have a great week filled with productivity, laughter and wellness.  See you soon!

Peace out,

Friday, March 8, 2013

Yippee-kay-yay it's Friday!!

Happy Friday!  It's been a whirlwind of a week, and I haven't had the chance to sit down to write until now. I may have had a twinge of writers' block. I'm so happy, not only because it's Friday (woo hoo) but because this is a big weekend. At least by my standards.  It's big because for once there is not a lot on the agenda. I love that.

There are a few scheduled events which are big to my kids; my son has a lacrosse game tonight and my daughter is taking the SAT tomorrow but other than that nothing is on our schedule. (Yes, my daughter is taking the college entry exam. Yes, I'm that old.)  Eek. Ha ha, it's all good.

I'm content to just be this weekend.  Let things play out as they will.  This is a milestone for me, because I've always been a planner. Control freak.  There, I said it. Another of my quirks I've been working on. But lately, I'm relaxing and trying to just go with the flow. There is peace in that.

The main reason this is a big weekend for me is tomorrow we turn the clocks ahead one hour. Is it weird that I'm completely over the moon excited about that? Most (normal) people grumble because it means an hour of sleep lost. Poof! Gone. But to me, we are not losing but rather gaining many blessings. An extra hour of daylight, more sunshine, more soon-to-be budding flowers and trees, evening bike rides and the end to the winter "blahs".  I am so over the blahs and ready for some hoopla.  Spring!

Me in the blahs

Me...ready for Spring and hoopla!

I love all of the seasons, but Spring is my favorite. All of the others just kind of follow each other, but Spring is special to me. The first two months of the year can be draining. It's dark, skies are gray and it's cold. It's hard to stay out of the blahs, even for me. Looking out of my window right now is a pleasure.  The sky is bright blue, birds are chirping, snow is melting.

The forecast for tomorrow looks perfect! Sunny and in the mid 50's. Not necessarily a heatwave, but warm enough for a long bike ride! I've got a 3 hour endurance ride planned. It will be a good day, and I can get back to bike blogging.


So if you need me I'll be spending peaceful quiet time with me, time with the kids, time with friends and lots of cycling. The fact that I will be able to ride outside in the sunshine has my mood soaring. I'll fill you in on Sunday. Smile!

Peace out,

Monday, March 4, 2013

Messing with my Mojo

As far as weekends go, I would say this was a quiet one.  My daughter was away at a church retreat so the house was a tad empty.  I spent the bulk of the time watching my son, Nick play basketball.  And when we weren't at the Fieldhouse I was cleaning out closets.  I know....exciting.  But sometimes quiet weekends can be pretty great.  I had a lot of time to reflect and write. The weather was perfect for a run this afternoon, and I knocked out my scheduled 10 miles with a new killer playlist. (I'm addicted to Spotify...if you don't have it, trust me you have to check it out!)  The cold run meant more time to reflect, jam out and mind blog.  a.k.a daydream. Which is always fun.

What's on my mind blog today? Unfortunately not a pleasant day dream.  Instead I was reflecting on some drama. Remember not too long ago when I wrote about choosing to surround myself with positive people without drama?  Intention is one thing, reality is yet another.

It is not a perfect world, I'm not perfect and I'm not surrounded by perfect people. I have come to the conclusion that the only thing in this life I can control is me.  I can only determine how I respond.  There are a few people in my life now that are, let's just say...complicated.  They mess with my mojo.

There was a time in my life that I was steeped in turbulence. If my life became serene I would search out chaos. Looking back upon that time, I believe that my unconscious thought process was if I was surrounded with melodrama and chaotic situations, I would be taken out of my pain. Drama diversion if you will. It really didn't work, and my emotional pain only increased. Still, I held on to those ideas for many years. I was extremely unhealthy. I was always angry. I was so miserable.

I don't know exactly what made me stop.  One day I just made the decision to put my bad behavior behind me.  I did it and never looked back.  Day by day I worked on myself from the inside out. I gradually grew into a woman I actually like and am proud of.  I didn't much like myself during the drama era, which is what I've named it.  I can't remember the last time I was angry.  Change started with me, and I continue that into the present.  I can only control Michelle.  Not others or their stuff.  Just my stuff.

There are days, like today, when I have to make a decision. I can either let this person get to me and fester in the situation or I can let it go. I can react immediately or I can take myself out of the situation for the meantime and then address it later.  Pause.

I try to treat people the way I would like to be treated. Practice random acts of kindness.  It's how I roll today, and I couldn't be happier.

The next time someone pushes your buttons, try pausing.  It works, I promise.

Serenity is now. Drama is so yesterday.
Peace friends,